The terms of the deal have generated intense criticism from Republicans, who accused President Biden of helping to finance Iran’s terrorist activities.
Five Americans who had been imprisoned in Iran were allowed to leave the country on Monday, according to White House officials, after two years of high-stakes negotiations in which the United States agreed to unfreeze $6 billion in Iranian oil revenue and dismiss federal charges against five Iranians accused of violating U.S. sanctions.
The announcement that the Americans took off in a plane from Tehran just before 9 a.m. eastern, came as President Biden and Ebrahim Raisi, Iran’s president, were to attend the annual United Nations General Assembly meeting of world leaders on Tuesday.
The five Americans, some of whom had been held for years in Evin Prison, one of the most notorious detention centers in Iran, were expected to fly to Doha, the capital of Qatar, for a Cold War-style exchange with two of the five Iranian nationals. Three others declined to return to Iran, according to U.S. officials.
The Americans will be given a brief medical checkup in Doha before boarding a U.S. government plane to be flown back to Washington, officials said.